I saw Julian Assange's 2012 Christmas balcony speech and he said two things that resonated with me: "Civilisations are only as good as their ideas, and good ideas do not come when journalists and academics are timid". Assange represents a fork in the road of our culture. Can we maintain a new freedom of information for the masses, a new Gutenberg revolution, and raise our culture to a higher level? Or not?
In comparison we physicists have it easy: when you try to determine the truth about the universe, it doesn't get mad. However, there is something that physicists should be willing to do that is a little scary: make testable predictions. The scary part is the possibility of being wrong. Many modern theories do not make testable predictions and they remind me of the futile debates in the dark ages about whether God was in three parts or one. We had learned by the time of Galileo and Newton that, although testing theories is an excruciating process, theories based on old books rather than experiments are useless. Recently this has been forgotten by some theorists.
What is called for in physics, and politics too, is intellectual courage from people low down in the hierarchy and, especially, a little humility from those at the top (it has always been so). It's time the authorities admitted that they do not know what they think they know, and allowed the facts to be discussed by all in a freer manner. We will all gain from this.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.